In recent days and weeks parts of Australia have been destroyed by fires. Other parts are still threatened by those fires. One of those parts is the area where singer-songwriter Fanny Lumsden lives. Lumsden and her family have evacuated, and in the midst of the oppressive atmosphere caused by the fires, and the fear and uncertainty, she has found time to buy supplies for people in her local town and to keep posting updates to social media, so that those of us who care about her – fans like me and many friends – know what’s going on.
Lumsden is one of the great chroniclers of Australian rural life. Her two albums, Small Town Big Shot and Real Class Act, are classics of country music. That would be reason alone to devote a playlist to her, but in acknowledgement of her bloody awful start to the year, and of the spirit, determination and resilience she has shown, this month’s Spotify playlist is all Lumsden all the time.
Please consider preordering her new album, Fallow: https://orcd.co/flfallow
- Bravest of Hearts
- Land of Gold
- Totem Tennis
- Rattle & Your Roll
- Roll On
- Elastic Waistband
- Real Men Don’t Cry
- Peppercorn Tree
- Peed in the Pool
- These Days
Fanny Lumsden – an unstoppable, inspirational singer-songwriter who is in the middle of her latest Country Halls Tour – has released a new song, the bittersweet ‘These Days’, and announced that her third album, Fallow, will be released in March 2020.
‘These Days’ is about the stretch of time between Christmas and New Year, when not much happens but so much matters. The song is bittersweet because, as the song says, she waits all year for these days but, as she said on stage the other night, these days can contain sadness even while you’re experiencing them, because you know they’re about to be over. Given that many Australians spend that stretch of the year in the same state – going to the beach, hanging out, taking the opportunity to do not much of all but knowing it’s all so fleeting – there is much to relate to. And, as is so often the case with Lumsden’s songs, it’s also musically memorable.
Fallow is available to preorder on CD and vinyl as well as digital, and if you order from Lumsden she’ll send you an email to access lots of behind-the-scenes content, which will be added to as time goes on.
‘These Days’ is out through Red Dirt Records and Cooking Vinyl Records.
Apple Music | iTunes | Spotify
Sometimes a country music blogger intends to have a day off, because there are other things going on, such as a little thing called the ‘day job’. However, such intentions are for nought when Fanny Lumsden releases a new single right out of the blue, with no warning whatsoever, and it’s accompanied by the news that she’s signed with independent label Cooking Vinyl Australia, while she’s in the middle of an epic Country Halls Tour. Not only that, but she’s made a video for the single. If anyone could achieve all that at once, it’s Lumsden – and, of course, the single is wonderful and so is the video, because excellence is her minimum standard of output.
So please enjoy ‘Peed in the Pool’, which is a song about someone who is ‘more into guidelines and less into rules’ – and who may have peed in the pool one time. It is a worthy addition to Lumsden’s growing canon of great country songs – the work of an artist who is such an integral part of Australian country music that it’s hard to remember what it was like without her.
Apple Music | iTunes | Spotify
It has been noted elsewhere on this website that singer-songwriter Fanny Lumsden has many strings to her proverbial bow. She also has a few accolades to acknowledge her prowess with said bow: her latest (second) album Real Class Act debuted at number 1 on the ARIA Country chart (the only independent release to do so in 2017); it was the AIR Independent Country Album of the Year 2018, nominated for ARIA Country Album of the Year, 4 Golden Guitars and 3 CMC Awards.
One of those strings is that Lumsden – and her partner in art and life, Dan Stanley Freeman – make videos for her songs, and they do this so well that the video for ‘Elastic Waistband‘, a single from Real Class Act, won a Golden Guitar. Now Lumsden and Freeman have produced a worthy successor, and a great piece of entertainment in its own right, with the creation of a clip for Lumsden’s latest single, ‘Pretty Little Fools’. Filmed at the local pool in Ungarie, New South Wales, the video documents a small-town rivalry in the form of a synchronised swimming competition. And that description makes it sound altogether too serious, so you’ll have to watch it for yourself:
Later in the year Lumsden and her band will embark on one of her renowned Country Halls Tours – the dates are too numerous to list here but you can find them on her website.
Apple Music | Artist’s website | iTunes | Spotify
Over the past few years there has emerged a singular artist in Australian country music, and her name is Fanny Lumsden. Fanny is a singer-songwriter from New South Wales but she’s also a connector of communities across our wide brown land, a conjurer of audiences in small outback towns and a multi-armed goddess holding her guitar in one hand, a record label in another, a microphone, a baby, award nominations, a production company and a multitude of other things. That is not to say that other artists aren’t doing this – Catherine Britt springs immediately to mind – but there’s only one Fanny Lumsden. As an observer and a fan, it is always fascinating to watch her work. And, as Fanny makes it clear in this interview, it’s not just her behind it all – but that doesn’t make her any less inspiring or interesting. That’s quite apart from the fact that she writes some of the best songs you’ll ever hear, available on her two albums Small Town Big Shot and Real Class Act. We spoke on the occasion of the release of her latest single, ‘Real Men Don’t Cry (War on Pride)’, and the extraordinary video that accompanies it, which you can watch below.
You are such an intrepid artist, you seemed to be on a plane to the US within a fortnight of having a baby – so how was your first tour with a plus one?
Well, it was way more complicated than I’d originally anticipated. I was a bit naïve, I think, and I’d booked all this stuff in before I had him, and then I thought, This is so hard![laughs]
I remember seeing you getting on a plane to Adelaide to play a show when he was very, very little.
He was three weeks at that point. It’s all been quite a steep learning curve – I take my hat off to all the parents out there because it’s way harder than I thought. But when you don’t have a choice you just do what you have to do.
Continue reading “Interview: Fanny Lumsden”
Since Fanny Lumsden released her debut album, Small Town Big Shot, she has established herself as a pillar of the Australian country music community. She was already seasoned at touring parts of Australia that rarely see a musical act, and she continued to do that – it was a fitting activity for someone whose music appeared almost to spring from the land and its people. Lumsden seems to intrinsically understand that one of the functions of country music is to tell the story of the country. It can be quite a responsibility, and it’s one she is absolutely capable of undertaking, as she showed on Small Town Big Shot and now on her second album, Real Class Act.
On this new album Lumsden may return to the themes of her first – the land and its people – but she has moved on to new stories, and where there was a touch of (healthy) cynicism on the first album, the second is mostly a more jaunty affair. There is a notable exception: ‘Real Men Don’t Cry (War on Pride)’ is Lumsden’s serious – and needfully so – plea for Australians to relinquish the stoicism which can cause so much damage. It is the sort of directness that country music facilitates and allows to be sincerely received, because of the artist’s relationship with the audience and theirs with the artist. In someone else’s hands this song might sound hokey; in Lumsden’s – so assured, experienced and empathetic – it is moving. And it has a companion in the beautiful final song on the album, ‘Here to Hear’.
The other songs on Real Class Act are the sort that evoke scratchy summer grass, dusty roads and old friendships, with all the mixed emotions they bring. Lumsden understands that the best way to communicate a story is not by trying to sweep up as many experiences and emotions as you can into the one song. Specificity is what offers the listener the opportunity to think, Me too. Or, if there’s no commonality, there is a richly detailed story to listen to instead.
As with the title of her first album, Lumsden’s use of ‘Real Class Act’ could be taken as ironic – except it’s not. At every stage of her career she has proved herself to be the real deal, and a real class act. She’s also a one-off. Lumsden honours the traditions of Australian country music and takes them further along the red dirt road with her, remaking them as she goes and creating a unique sound and style that can only continue to win more fans.
Real Class Act is out now.
With just one album Fanny Lumsden has established herself as one of Australia’s leading country music artists. Her superb songwriting – each track on that album, Small Town Big Shot, is a gem – and her effervescent live performances have connected with audiences all over Australia. Not only that, but they’ve been awarded with a 2017 Golden Guitar, the CMC Best New Talent Award, and the APRA Professional Development Award
An important reason for Fanny’s popularity is her willingness to tour to places that often don’t host gigs, with her Country Halls Tours. Fanny has just announced that she will soon embark on her sixth annual Country Halls tour, in support of her new album, Real Class Act, which will be released on 22 September.
Fanny and her band, The Thrillseekers, will be heading to country halls in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, in towns including Burren Junction, Mullaley, Tullamore, Eurongilly, Tumblong and Andamooka. The tour will also aise funds for local communities, and will journey to metropolitan areas, BIGSOUND and Tamworth Country Music Festival along the way.
For the full list of shows, visit www.fannylumsden.net
Tickets are now on sale.